Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Respect & How I Offer It

Generally psychologists hold the opinion that you have to have a self before you have a supposedly healthy relationship. I don't think that a sense of self is necessary to having a relationship really, and lots of Hispanics, Chinese and India Indians agree with you - how can 4 billion people be wrong?

But the common psychological opinion in our culture (of the self being indispensible to a good relationship) addresses responsibility & respect. Otherwise people tend to get very blurry about what is their responsibility and what is their partner's. The problem is who should be responsible for changing something that makes one of them uncomfortable?

If it's done with an undifferentiated self, both of them perhaps must get very good at questioning each of their collective assumptions and sorting out how to alter them so change is possible...or perhaps one person can "do for" the other as a sort of compensation. But SHOULD you change the other person for whatever reason? How does one person "know best" what is best for both or for the whole the family? The same way that how does a person know what is best for themselves if that self includes parts of themselves they don't want know about?

I wonder how this responsibility/respect issue could be articulated and addressed artfully?

Otherwise each person tends to try to "fix" the situation as if that other person were themselves They do it to make the other person "do better" the way they would make themselves "do better." Sometimes their means defeat the it does for them!

So when someone has a sense of self and they know their own limitations - they get a better idea what to "leave alone" that is the other person's business. Someone close to me is struggling, sometimes it's difficult to allow them to struggle, but how else will they change? I always think, if I "do for" them now, how will it affect my relationship with them in the long run?

Also when you are very close, whatever bothers someone will bother you unless you know where you start and they end. - Again, there may be another way, but I have always solved that problem with a sense of assigning a boundary and a "leave alone" attitude. I'm willing to do quite a lot for someone else who I consider to be my "family member." But sometimes I stop myself, because I wonder if what I'm about to do for them will be of any real use to them.

For instance, I probably know how to "teach" someone more than they know now how to imagine spatially. People have mentioned that they have learned a little of it just being around me. I don't think that I can help but share with my friends how I "see" with my artist's eye in the context of whatever I notice, so that's how they've been picking it up.

But what if I were to make suggestions to "on purpose train" that sense in that person without them realizing that I had the intention to communicate the benefit of my spacial experience? They wouldn't know what I was doing - and would probably resist my efforts.

I would not do that unless I had their permission and interest in the moment. At least, that's what I did when I was in a "blended undefined self" relationship in the past. Without my "sense of self," I'd be doing that "training" all the time to bring my "other part" (in this case, the
undifferentiated self-less other body) up to speed. I hate thinking of someone as my "other half." It's just that it's got to be such an erroneous assumption that anyone could be "just like me." Always at the first part of a relationship, people notice how much they are similar to the other; as the relationship goes on people notice how different they are. Then, when it goes on a long time, people often completely switch places and offer the complaints that they used to hear from the other person!

The same with Alexander Technique - there is a way of teaching AT where I would just prevent you from moving down on yourself for an extended period of time, as long as you could "handle." Essentially, I'd be "training" your body to put up with not doing your habit as long as you could tolerate being without it. It's a very interesting experience, sustaining the refusal of habit, but very strange and wierd.

I am capable, I am game but I don't push it on other people. After I've given my friends a taste of it, I'll only give more when they ask again. That's part of my idea of respect.